Extending FBI Director Robert Mueller’s FBI term beyond the ten-year term limit “may serve to weaken an important, and still necessary, protection designed to prevent any director from accumulating the power that J. Edgar Hoover misused,” warns American University law professor William Yeomans.
Yeomans, who has served as Sen. Ted Kennedy’s chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a Justice Department official, reminds readers that Congress established the ten-year term limit for the FBI Director because significant abuses of power by Hoover toward the end of his 48-year term were discovered after his death.
Yeomans lauds Mueller’s accomplishments, but also notes some “missteps” by Mueller, including “the documented abuse of National Security Letters to improperly obtain records without seeking warrants, and, as alleged in a recent lawsuit, the covert infiltration of places of worship.”
The FBI’s mission as a domestic intelligence and security agency, with all its enhanced tools, gives it the authority to pose a far greater threat to the civil liberties of the average American than at any other time in its existence.
Particularly because Mueller led the creation of this more powerful and intrusive FBI, it is important to bring in new leadership to evaluate the success and future course of that transformation.